We all know just how good a hot cup of coffee feels in the morning when we are groggy. For so many of us, taking our daily cups of coffee is a hard to break habit. Making do with less sleep and more work seems a tough job indeed without a cup of coffee to the rescue!
However, there is one thing to be kept in mind while drowning one cup after another. Coffee and other stimulating beverages like it contain caffeine. Although it helps keep the mind attentive and lets a person put in more physical labour, it is imperative to keep a tight lid on caffeine consumption.
Now the first thing that any person who cannot live without his or her morning coffee will ask is – why? Before answering that, let me tell you a little more about caffeine. Caffeine is not just your lifeline to a wakeful morning but a potent psychoactive stimulant drug. It is not a harmless chemical that helps you stay awake. Being a drug it can do as much damage to your body as the misuse or overuse of any other drug can.
Caffeine mainly works by stimulating your Central Nervous System and thus helps mask fatigue. But in large amounts, caffeine can make your nervous system really go haywire. The most obvious consequence of an overdose of caffeine is the disruption of sleep. It is highly ironic that while you first consumed caffeine to help keep you awake, the same will keep you from getting quality sleep and cause you to resort to consuming more of it to stay awake.
Caffeine consumption also impairs memory. While long-term caffeine intake can damage long-term memory and learning abilities, even short-term memory impairment can occur with lower doses. Caffeine is also known to cause heart palpitations. For older post-menopausal women, taking in too much of caffeine can increase the rate of bone loss and lead to a painful disease – osteoporosis. Even weight-loss supplements are not beyond risk. Many such supplements contain caffeine which is present to aid the burning of “fat”. The problem is that the large quantity of caffeine present in these supplements exposes consumers to the dangers of caffeine-overdose. Caffeine can also increase the need to urinate in people who have less tolerance for the drug.
The saddest thing is that even children are not spared. More and more youngsters prefer their colas, sodas and energy drinks, all of which contain considerable amounts of caffeine to milk. As a result their growing bodies are being deprived of the healthy nutritive elements present in milk while being overloaded with caffeine. It has been found that high caffeine intake makes children hyperactive and prone to diseases like ADHD.
The tendency of caffeine to become addictive is most dangerous and that is precisely why lowering intake is always recommended. Remember that giving up caffeine for good is a personal choice left to you, but doing so would only help you preserve the gift of good health.